Flipping It

28 Jul

Me and my victim mentality go wayyyyyyyyyy back. I have often felt like, one or a combination of the following: Why is everything so hard for me (potentially more so than for everyone else?)? Why does everything always go wrong? or the flip side of that: Why can’t anything go right? Why do I (choose your favorite word – suffer, struggle, some variation thereof) so? Why does this (some inconvenient or even worse, upsetting thing) always happen to me??? (And, I don’t want to beat this thing over the head, but a strong victim-mentality is pretty classic codependent behavior.)

Anyway, yesterday I was flying to a writing conference that I was/am so excited for. So my flight was delayed. A little. And then a lot. And then it was canceled. And I had a moment (a moment!) of: “Poor me, this sucks, why doesn’t anything, ever, work out for me?” But then…the moment passed. Or. I forcibly pulled myself out of it. Which is huge for me. (I have mentioned how I love to wallow, no?) I mean, I was all like: “Shit, I had to leave work early to sit around in an airport all day?!” but then I was all like: “I got to leave work early to sit around in an airport all day!” (These conversations with myself can be so enlightening!)

I mean, I got to read for six (it was more like a little over 5, but I am rounding up, the victim in me can’t help but milk it for sympathy) consecutive hours, alternating a self-help text and a fiction book, so I was very well-prepared. I got to justify eating butter-soaked (and I do mean soaked) pretzel-bites that came in a paper cup with a tangy dipping sauce (which, by the way, I was deciding between the standard-pretzel-formation and the bites, and I went for the bites, only realizing later, or during, that the bites definitely had more butter saturation per their considerably greater surface area, and I’m not even good at math, and there I was thinking about surface area!). I almost justified buying the Lance-Bass-I’m-Gay People magazine, but I think I’ve already mentioned that I was well-stocked in the reading material department, and celebrity gossip generally upsets me, or, in the case of Britney Spears, makes me angry. And let me just say while I’m on, or not far from at least, the topic of food-in-airports: I am so happy that airports now house recognizable chains. Remember when we were kids, in the days before somewhat pretty food-courts and limited-menu Chili’s??? There was like, one depressing sandwich shop in every airport, with bad coffee (although at age 8 I didn’t drink coffee, but thinking back, on the decor, or lack of decor in these places, and other facts, like, the coffee couldn’t have been even close to good, right?), flickering fluorescent lights, and stacks of soggy, plastic-wrap-choked sandwiches on stale white bread, dingy yogurt parfaits, and mushy fruit behind a depressingly generic display case. Remember that?). So I got to eat mushy pretzel-bites, which I would never do in my real, daily life, and I was comforted by the reconizability of the chain name printed on the paper cup holding these buttery bits. (This morning I had a non-mushy banana and yogurt for breakfast to cleanse my system and hopefully counteract aforesaid bites.)

And then: I have the day off today, and I got to sleep in, so now, I will be super-rested for the conference tomorrow (I only got less-than-six hours of sleep the night before last so I possibly would have been the opposite of super-rested if I went today). And also, my body feels like I participated in some kind of athletic activity as a result of sitting in an airport chair for six hours, so I can pretend I did, although really (really), I didn’t. And lastly, everyone on the other, destination end of my trip thus far has been super-nice, especially as it pertains to refunding me money for lodging and activities that I am missing.

I do want to say this: Our society is pretty heavy into the victim mentality, and yesterday, it felt like I was really fighting against a double-grain (myself, and society) to remain calm, peaceful, and optimistic. All around me, people were complaining and commiserating, telling their most miserable “I was stuck in an airport stories” to each other, comparing/contrasting who had it worse/worst, who was possibly, at that very second missing the more (or possibly most) important thing, and saying things to me like: “It’s such a mess,” to which I nodded, half-smiled, and ducked back into my self-help book; I really didn’t want anyone else spilling their negativity all over me. A group of people behind me had such tangible negative energy that at one point I had to cover my ears, stand up, and sit down again when I realized there were no other vacant seats. Plus CNN was on in the corner, blaring its bad news for all to soak up. Yuck.

But overall, I was super-successful at flipping it. I headed my disappointment off at the pass instead of letting it carry me into some kind of irreversible meltdown situation. I did the next indicated thing, and then the next and then the next, changing my ticket, canceling my hotel reservation, getting myself home, sleeping in, taking very excellent care of myself in general. I can say, to myself and anyone else who wants to hear: it’s a bummer, but it’s alright. No big deal even. I can go with the flow, in a very un-victim-like manner. And this is a major un-doing of a lifelong pattern. This, is an accomplishment.

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